Mansimran Kaur

New Delhi, June 18, 2022: The Delhi High Court has recently observed that it would be perilous to rely upon an agreement or compromise to justify quashing of the FIR when the complainant had assailed the very legality of that agreement or compromise.

The Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh dismissed the instant petition which was preferred by the petitioners under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. whereby they were seeking to quash the FIR registered against the offences punishable under Sections 384/420/467/468/471/477/506/120-B/34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 by observing that Court should exercise its extraordinary powers under section 482 of the Cr.P.C only when it is satisfied that the settlement agreement or the compromise between the victim and the offender has been freely and voluntarily executed or reached.

Factual matrix of the case was such that the instant FIR was registered against Mr. Davinder Sharma, Mrs. Sheema Sharma, Mr. Sanjay Kriplani, Mr. Baljit Singh, Mr. Kuldeep Singh and Mr. Hari Om Yadav for the offence of extortion of more than Rs. 100 crore by way of putting the complainant and his wife in fear of death.It was contended in the instant FIR that the complainant, Mr. Harbhajan Singh Chopra and his wife Surjit Kaur Chopra were the Directors of Hotel Foundation Head. As per the FIR, the extortion by the accused persons began way back at the end of 2007 and in the beginning of the year 2008. The complainant was a British National who came to India and invested his lifelong earned money into ‘Hotel Fountain Head Motel Pvt. Ltd./Hotel Claremont’ and other properties in and around Delhi. 

The complainant was lured by misrepresentation and assurance to assist in expanding the operations of the hotel. It was contended that the aforesaid accused persons along with their criminal conspirators had forced, coerced under threat of life and physical harm upon the complainant and his wife, and by way of such threats on gun point, had forced them to sign various documents and cheques for the purpose of creating liability on the company in their favor. It is further contended that under the threat, the complainant had given certain cheques, demand drafts/post dated cheques, and cash and also executed sale deeds in favor of the accused persons.

After hearing the submissions of the parties and after pursuing the material on record, the Court was of the view that the inherent power of the High Court to quash non- compoundable offences is not circumscribed by any of the provisions of the Cr.P.C, including Section 320. Section 482 of the Cr.P.C is a declaration of the inherent power, pre-existing in the High Court and so long as the exercise of the inherent power falls within the parameters of Section 482 of the Cr.P.C., it shall have an overriding effect over any of the provisions of the Cr.P.C, added the Bench.

 In exercise of its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C., High Court may permit compounding of a non-compoundable offence, provided that in doing so, it satisfies the conditions mentioned therein.  It was further observed that the power to quash criminal proceedings under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. exists even in non- compoundable offences, however there is no straight jacket formula for the same and the same entirely depends upon the facts of each case.  Reliance was also placed on the judgment in  CBI v. Keshub Mahindra, Gian Singh v. State of Punjab.Thus, without relying upon the agreement or compromise to justify quashing the FIR, the petition was dismissed. 

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